Monday, December 31, 2018

Gay Navy couple performed 'first kiss' ceremonial in Florida

Bryan Woodington returned home after seven months deployment in the Middle East, and was seen kissing his husband Kenneth Woodington in spectacular style.

The couple participated in the ceremonial “first kiss,” a tradition in which one Naval service member and their spouse kiss and embrace to mark a unit’s return from overseas deployment. 

Bryan, a sailor aboard the USS The Sullivans, returned with 300 fellow sailors to Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville (Florida) just before the Christmas holiday, after spending seven months in the Middle East.

The first kiss is decided by lottery, in which sailors’ spouses donate to a good cause to enter a raffle. Kenneth won, and when Bryan walked off the gangway ahead of his fellow sailors, the two embraced and kissed. 

Bryan commenting: “I was excited and I could not wait for it to happen. I knew I was going to dip him.” Kenneth said: “When he got off the ship, I lost all control, I just dropped everything and I just ran.” And Bryan added: “I gave him nothing but love and care and understanding right out the gate, so I think we just fell for each other really hard and we both knew what we really wanted.”

Bill Austin, a spokesman for Naval Station Mayport, reportedly said a same-sex first kiss had happened before and didn’t matter in the Navy, which he said was at the forefront of progress.

Welcome home!!

The couple has been married for about a year

Friday, December 28, 2018

A new coin will commemorate the removal 50 years ago of criminal sanctions against homosexuality in Canada

The year 2019 marks half a century since Canada first began to challenge laws banning same-sex sexual activities.

The Royal Canadian Mint has announced the release of a new $1 Canadian coin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of gay sex. The design was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

The new $1 coin will display the years 1969 and 2019, but Royal Canadian Mint refused to provide background or image of new coin, to 'maximize impact' of 2019 launch.

The process really started in 1967 under Trudeau’s father, former Canadian leader Pierre Trudeau. That year, while serving as Justice Minister, he proposed changes to the Criminal Code which, among other things, would decriminalise homosexual relations for Canadians over 21. The battle for LGBT rights however continued, as the persecution of gay men did not end with the 1969 reforms. 

In 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau apologised for the historic persecution of LGBT people under the country’s anti-gay laws. Now, Canada is one of the most friendly-gay country in the world.

PM Trudeau at Toronto Pride Parade

Thursday, December 27, 2018

First gay romance story comes on the big screen in India

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, which translates as How I Felt When I Saw That Girl, marks the first time mainstream Indian cinema has embraced a same-sex romance on the big screen.

Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor is set to star opposite her father Anil Kapoor in a groundbreaking lesbian love story. It will be the first time that the Slumdog Millionaire star has appeared on screen with his daughter.

Sonam Kapoor fall in love with a woman and her Punjabi family repeatedly attempts to find a man for her character, Sweety, but she declines all suitors because she’s secretly in love with Kuku, played by Regina Cassandra.

Without spoiling too much, Sweety eventually comes out to her family and seeks their acceptance over the course of several heart-rending scenes.

The release of the film comes after India's Supreme Court removed a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual gay sex, overturning more than 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation.

Watch the amazing trailer below:

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Singapore High Court allows gay dad to adopt his surrogate son

Singapore High Appeal Court allowed a gay doctor to adopt his biological son, a  landmark ruling in the socially conservative city-state that comes almost a year after his initial bid was rejected.

The decision overturns a 2017 ruling in which a court said the man could not adopt the boy because he was born by a surrogate in the United States through in-vitro fertilization, a procedure not available to unmarried couples in Singapore.

The three-judge appeal court made clear that its move to reverse the decision was based “on the particular facts of the case and should not be taken as an endorsement of what the appellant and his partner set out to do”.

“Our decision was reached through an application of the law as we understood it to be, and not on the basis of our sympathies for the position of either party,” wrote Chief Justice.

Neither of these reasons is “sufficiently powerful to enable us to ignore the statutory imperative to promote the welfare of the child, and, indeed, to regard his welfare as first and paramount”.

The ruling also comes amid a renewed public push to review Singapore’s colonial-era law under which sex between consenting males carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development said that it respects the ruling to allow a gay Singaporean father to adopt his biological son, but that the ministry will consider if the relevant policies need to be reviewed.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

70 French artists join forces to tackle homophobia

As many as 70 chart topping French singers have released a new single called De l’Amour to tackle homophobia.

The haunting and beautiful melody translates into English as ‘Of Love’ and tells the story of gay refugee Azamat; who was the first refugee the charity helped escape persecution in his home country.

The song was released this week as a download. All proceeds from its sales will go to French charity Urgence Homophobie (Emergency Homophobia).

Urgence Homophobie said it had released the song to raise awareness of the plight LGBT people continue to face. The charity aims to tackle homophobia throughout the world and helps LGBT refugees from countries that persecute LGBT citizens.

Among the artists volunteering to sing on the track and appear in an evocative video were Emmanuel Moire, Christophe Willem and Muriel Robin.

Other stars on the track include Christiane Taubira, Marc-Olivier Fogiel, Elodie Frégé, Vincent Dedienne, Camille Cottin, Alex Lutz, Amanda Lear, Elise Lucet, Valérie Damidot, Karine Le Marchand, Daphne Burki, Laurent Ruquier, Christophe Beaugrand, Zabou, Agnès Jaoui, Laura Smet, Amir, Amel Bent, Romane Bohringer, Liliane Rovère and Stéfi Celma.

France has witnessed an increasing number of homophobic attacks in 2018.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Defense Secretary Mattis, who opposed Trump's ban on trans service members, resignes

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has resigned. The Pentagon chief, nicknamed “Mad Dog Mattis” during his time as a Marine, has sent a resignation letter addressed to Trump indicating his final day in office will be Feb. 28.

The retired general had split with the president on several issues including torture, Syria's war, relationships with Russia and China, and also transgender service members.

In 2017, Trump ordered to the Pentagon to implement a new administration ban on transgender people in the military, issuing a policy to clean military of trans soldiers.

But Mattis opposed Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members. He announced that transgender troops would be allowed to continue serving in the military despite Trump's order. In fact, Mattis delayed Trump's military trans ban 'sine die'.

Mattis said in a statement: “Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction. In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place”.

Watch MSNBC Rachel Maddow comments on Mattis resignation:

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Outsports Person of the Year: Adam Rippon


Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon turned his success at the Winter Olympics into a year the likes of which we’ve rarely seen.

Chances are, a year ago today you had barely heard of Adam Rippon.

To be sure, there was good reason to know his name. He had been one of the best figure skaters in America for much of the last decade, finishing second in the U.S. Championships twice and winning a national title in 2016. 

He was ranked top-10 in the world each of the last three seasons. And In 2015 he came out publicly as gay — a rare out professional athlete in America — and transformed his appearance from boy to man.

Read more here.

Adam won a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Moment in the Reeds

A Moment in the Reeds is a Finnish romantic drama film written and directed by Mikko Mäkelä in his feature directorial debut. It stars Janne Puustinen (Leevi) and Boodi Kabbani (Tareq). 

Leevi returns to Finland from his university studies in Paris to spend the summer helping his father Jouko renovate the family lakehouse for sale. Leevi is estranged from his conservative father, his only living relative, and hopes to avoid mandatory military service by obtaining French citizenship. 

Tareq, an architect by profession who has come to Finland from war-torn Syria seeking asylum, has been hired to help with the work. When Leevi's father returns to town on business, the two young men, speaking English, their only common language, establish a connection. They spend a few days discovering one another during an idyllic Finnish midsummer.

The film also talks about the experience of being marginalised in western societies not only from the point of view of sexual orientation, but also of ethnicity, nationality or language.

This story is set in Finland but, in fact, it may find resonance in any country with debates over immigration and over the intake of refugees.

The film had its world premiere at BFI London Film Festival. 

Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Same-sex couples rush to marry before Bolsonaro takes power in Brazil

Thirty-eight same-sex couples tied the knot at a mass gay wedding ceremony in São Paulo, Brazil. Local LGBT advocacy group Casa1 organized the mass wedding at its premises. 

After announcing its intention, it managed to raise around $12,000 to help cover the expenses of the event. A team of volunteers also helped to create dresses, decorate the venue, style hair and prepare food.

Many LGBT people in the South American country are fearful for their rights following the election of the far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, to the position of President. 

Bolsonaro has made numerous homophobic statements, including,"Yes, I’m homophobic and very proud of it". He also once suggested that if parents see their son "acting a little bit gay" they should beat him "to make him normal".

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013. However, some gay and bisexual people worry that once in office, Bolsonaro may roll back some of their rights.

No step backwards!

Proud Brazil!

Monday, December 17, 2018

A trans Indian makes history at bodybuilding competition

Indian trans hunk Aryan Pasha made history by taking second place at the Musclemania bodybuilding competition in Delhi.

Aryan Pasha, transitioned at the age of 18, competed in the Men’s Physique (Short) category.

He wanted to compete in a transmen competition in the US. But, when his visa was denied, he joined a male competition in Delhi instead.

"I enjoyed every second when I was on stage because this is what I dreamt off. I was not nervous at all and just wanted to complete poses like a champion", he said.

He plans to participate in the next International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation competition in February.

Good luck hunk!!

Aryan with his mom after the victory

Sunday, December 16, 2018

BBC News announces their first ever correspondent for LGBT news and events

Ben Hunte has been announced as the first ever correspondent for LGBT news and events for BBC News.

He will report on stories, issues and debates surrounding sexuality and gender and provide insight and analysis on matters affecting the LGBT community in the UK.

In a statement, Ben said: “I’m delighted… and I am looking forward to finding and telling stories from the LGBT community.”

Later, on his Instagram page, Ben told his followers, “New job coming soon! Dream come true. I’m so excited to be the BBC’s first LGBT Correspondent and I can’t wait to tell some important stories,” followed by a rainbow flag emoji.

During the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, Ben presented his own series of LGBT-themed programmes for BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, titled The Ben Hunte Interviews.

On the series, he interviewed a range of celebrities such as Paul O’Grady, Stephen K. Amos, Peter Tatchell, Ruth Hunt, Linda Riley and Calum McSwiggan.

Congrats Ben!!!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Israel Top Court rules for gay parents in birth certificate fight

Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled both same-sex parents have the right to be on birth certificates. In a landmark case, the top court ruled the Interior Ministry cannot refuse this right based on the parent’s sex.

It comes after two gay men adopted a son, then tried to get both names on his birth certificate. But Ministry officials refused to write both names on the birth certificate. The gay men appealed the decision. They then said the refusal could have ramifications for the both them and their son in the future.

The ruling was delivered by a three-judge panel headed by Justice Neal Hendel, who wrote the unanimous opinion, and including justices George Kara and Meni Mazuz.

Justice said in the decision: "The principle of the good of the child argues for the recording of his entire family unit. It doesn’t permit us to limit ourselves to only one of his parents in the birth certificate. The contrast with the treatment of a child adopted by a heterosexual couple, who has the right to have both adopted parents written in a birth certificate, is a contrast that applies both to the child and to the parents. It is unreasonable for the couple to be legally recognized as parents but for the certificate not to give expression to that fact".

The court finally ordered the Interior Ministry to produce a birth certificate with both fathers’ names.

Israel recognizes any same-sex union and unregistered cohabitation between same-sex couples. Although same-sex marriages can not be legally performed in the country, Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Same-sex couples also are allowed to jointly adopt after a court decision in 2008.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Brokeback Mountain honoured by the Library of Congress

Brokeback Mountain is set to be included to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

The widely acclaimed Oscar-winning 2005 film, directed by Ang Lee, and starred by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as gay cowboy lovers, will be one of 25 productions selected this year for inclusion in the Registry.

Brokeback Mountain becomes the most recent film included in the Registry, which now features a total 750 titles, all deemed worthy of preservation for future generations due to their “cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage,” according to the Library of Congress.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said: “The National Film Registry turns 30 this year and for those three decades, we have been recognising, celebrating and preserving this distinctive medium. These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”

Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pantene Philippines shows support of trans people in its ad

Pantene Philippines has won praise for showing support of transgender people in its latest ad, which features beauty queen Kevin Balot, who calls herself “the girl named Kevin.”

The two-minute video, titled “Strength knows no gender,” is structured as Kevin’s message to those who, like her, have been struggling with self-acceptance due to the gender they were assigned at birth.

In the ad, Kevin first appears on her own, but she is eventually joined by three other young people who overcome their self-doubt, achieving self-acceptance.

Kevin tells viewers: “To you who are feeling the world is against you. Don’t be scared. Things can still go your way. They say it’s just a phase… maybe. Or maybe you’re confused. No one knows. The fact is, you are still discovering who you really are and that is OK."

“There will be those who will hurt you. Be strong. When you can stand up for yourself, no one can bring you down. Remember you are beautiful and unique. You deserve to be heard. Accepted… and loved," Kevin adds.

Watcth the ad below:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Watford FC fans show support for LGBT community with giant Pride flag

Watford FC's fan group Proud Hornets made an enormous LGBT Pride flag in the stands during their club’s Premier League match against the champions, Manchester City.

This gesture was inspired by Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which has been marked by the majority of clubs in the Premier League in recent weeks.

Another Angle's video looks back at an incredible rainbow display put on by the Proud Hornets and The 1881 Movement ahead of Premier League game against Manchester City. 

There's a fascinating insight into the preparation that goes into the creation of the display, which was part of the activation period by Stonewall for LGBT inclusion in sport. 

Watch the video below:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A positive response to fake gay marriage proposals in Poland

Polish gay couple Jakub Kwieciński and David Mycek, who got married in Portugal in 2017, asked passersby to film their fake wedding proposals on the streets of Warsaw.

In the video, one of the couple asks a member of the public, who isn’t aware that it is a same-sex proposal, to film the moment. The bystander only finds out that they are filming a gay proposal when the other half of the couple appears.

The response is mostly positive, with passersby taking photos, wishing them good luck and congratulating them. At one point, when the gay couple propose in Szembek Square, they are met with applause and bystanders shake their hands.

However, they also include a few incidents of discrimination in the video, which they have uploaded on YouTube. 

Watch the video below:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

More than 3,000 same-sex couples wed in Australia in first half of year

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said in a data release that 3,149 same-sex weddings took place between 9 December 2017, when amendments to the Marriage Act came into effect, and 30 June 2018.

The state with the greatest share of weddings was New South Wales (34.6%), followed by Victoria (26.2%) and Queensland (18.9%). 

Of those 3,149 weddings, 56.3% were between women, while the median age for women to marry was 39, compared with 48.5 for men. In 2017, the median age across heterosexual marriages was 32 for men and 30 for women.

The law change was greeted with particular enthusiasm among older couples, the data suggests. There were 1,057 people above the age of 60 who registered a same-sex marriage, including 86 men and 33 women older than 75.

Census data from 2016 showed there were 46,800 same-sex couples living together in Australia, then, the number of same-sex weddings will surelly increase in the future.

Australians said a massive Yes to marriage equality

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wembley Stadium hosted historic match for world's most successful LGBT club

To mark their new partnership with the LGBT equality charity Stonewall, which organises the Rainbow Laces campaign for inclusion in sport, the Football Association invited Stonewall FC, the first and most successful LGBT football club in the world, to play at the national stadium where the England international team plays its games.

Stonewall FC is used to playing in the Middlesex County Division One, but swaped its usual pitch for an altogether different experience at Wembley Stadium, to play against AFC Wilberforce. 

Playing under a rainbow arch, Stonewall players revealed their pride after becoming the first LGBT-inclusive club to play and win at Wembley Stadium.

Stonewall FC was set up in 1991 as a way of allowing openly gay men to play football in London and it now boasts three teams competing at various standards of grassroots football. And quite successfully at that, reaching the final of every LGBT tournament that they've entered since 2000.

The club hopes to use the experience of Wembley Stadium's game to continue normalizing their presence in the sport.

Congratulations to Stonewall FC for the 3-1 win, on a day that was about more than the 90 mins of football.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

The first publicly funded retirement home for LGBT people is to open in Spain

Spain is to open the world’s first LGBT retirement home funded with public money, after getting the green light from Madrid’s regional government.

According to Federico Armenteros, president of the Fundacion 26 de Diciembre, which will run the residence, it will become the first retirement home in the world to be opened using 100 percent public funds. It is set to open on December 26.

The home will consist of a four-storey building in the Villaverde neighbourhood of Madrid and will house 66 LGBT seniors as well as a day centre for 30 more. The project is expected to create 40 jobs.

Federico said: “We had to do something so that these people could live their last moments with the most dignity possible.” And he added: “A residence that will welcome people who don’t have many financial resources, to care for these people whose only other option is to die in the street, or alone at home.”

The residence will be managed by Federico’s foundation, whose name serves as a reminder of the Spanish LGBT community’s particularly difficult history of fighting for equal rights.

The foundation currently runs a day centre that caters to the needs of the elder LGBT community. It provides a regular lunch club, activities such as swimming and hiking trips, as well as therapy and healthcare.

Watch a video below:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

First Pride Parade in Delhi since end of gay sex ban

Thousands of LGBT supporters marched through the capital of India, at Delhi Queer Pride Parade. 

Parade organizers said it was the largest march since 2007. This edition, the Parade was a sea of rainbow flags, and attendees shouted 'we got our freedom' and 'goodbye 377'.

It was the first demonstration since the country’s Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the Penal Code. The colonial-era law criminalized homosexual acts with up to ten years in prison.

In India, attendees of LGBT pride parades often hide their identities by covering their faces, but this time there was more pride and fewer masks. "It’s the first time we are not marching as criminals," one of the proud organizers told.  

Happy Pride!!!

Police protect parade after court decision

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

It Gets Better UK

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appeared in a video for the It Gets Better campaign, which aims to promote a positive message about being LGBT to young people across the world.

The powerful new video opens up with Khan, who said that the LGBT community makes a huge contribution to London, making it a richer, brighter, more vibrant place.

Khan said: “I also know that many have struggled with their identity at some point in their lives.I’d like to share with you some of the experiences and stories from members of our staff network. While they capture the challenges and sense of isolation LGBT people can sometimes feel, they also have a hope and optimism for the future.”

The It Gets Better project is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower and connect LGBT people across the world.

Watch the video below:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Voters in Taiwan backed anti-gay marriage referendum

Voters in Taiwan have rejected legalising same-sex marriages in a series of referendums on Saturday. 

A referendum calling for marriage to only be recognised as between a man and a woman in Taiwan's Civil Code won more than seven million votes, while another calling for same-sex unions to be regulated under a separate law gained over six million.

Taiwan's top court legalised same-sex marriage in May 2017, the first place in Asia to do so, and ruled that it must be brought in within two years, but the government has made little progress in the face of opposition from conservative groups.

The court did not specify how it wanted gay marriage to be implemented, leaving room for conservative groups to call for separate regulations.

Gay rights activists had proposed that the Civil Code should give same-sex couples equal marriage rights, but only garnered three million votes.

Although the government has made clear the referendum results will not impact the court's original decision to legalise gay marriage, pro-gay campaigners worry that their newly won rights will be weakened.

With all conservative referendums passing the threshold of 25 per cent of eligible voters, under referendum law the government must take steps to reflect the result.

Bad news from Taiwan.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Olly Alexander wears rainbow suit on TV to reject anti-gay laws in Poland

Olly Alexander has taken a stand against Poland’s anti-gay laws by donning a rainbow suit during his performance on The Voice of Poland.

The openly gay Years & Years frontman wore the fabulous outfit after activists asked him to use his platform on the show, which is watched by millions in the country, to make a statement about LGBT rights.

Olly explained: “Poland’s government has become increasingly anti-LGBT and same-sex couples are not allowed to be shown on the TV station..

Poland has embraced our band from the very beginning and I know its people to be kind, funny and hugely generous.

Wearing rainbow colours is just a small statement but I’m very thankful to have been asked to do so.

The government’s stance on LGBT equality does not reflect the pride and love we see at our shows there, nor is it reflected in the people we work with. We had a great weekend, I love Poland and I will do my best to do right by you guys.”

The President of Poland declared same-sex marriage will never be legalised in the country, but Polish Supreme Court did stand up for LGBT rights in a recent sentence.

Watch the videos below:

Friday, November 23, 2018

A powerful new short film about trans teen is released

A new short film featuring transgender young people shows what it’s like to be a trans teen today.

Trans activist Jake Graf has written and directed Listen, a moving four-minute film following the lives of trans teenagers as they navigate school, bullying and relationships with their parents.

Featuring young trans actors in trans roles, the film honestly and frankly depicts some of the hard experiences lived by trans children and teenagers.

A powerful insight into the struggles that young trans people are facing today.

Watch the video below:

Thursday, November 22, 2018

French rugby team will wear rainbow laces after the homophobic attack to Gareth Thomas

The French rugby team are to wear rainbow laces to show solidarity with gay player Gareth Thomas, after he was subjected to a homophobic attack in Cardiff.

Gareth uploaded an emotional video to social media, in which he appeared with a bruised and a cut on his face and explained he was the victim of “a hate crime for my sexuality” the previous day.

Serge Simon, the vice-president of the French Rugby Federation, sent a message to Thomas from the entire French national rugby team. He wrote: “All of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic [attack] you’ve been victim of. To show our support, the French rugby players will wear rainbow laces during the France – Fiji game on Saturday night. We’re all in with you in this matter.”

In a response, Gareth wrote: “After the physical scars have healed, I feel I have to say an unbelievable THANK YOU from me and all in the LGBT community for the support I have received. Truly humbled. My mental scars will stay with me for some time, but will drive me to fight even more for a world where acceptance of everyone is normal. To the French rugby federation, merci. The players wearing rainbow laces in solidarity is an immense sign of inclusion.”

Watch the video posted by Gareth on social media:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thousands rally in support of equal marriage in Taiwan ahead of crucial referendum

Tens of thousands of LGBT rights advocates rallied in the Taiwan capital, Taipei, supporting same-sex marriage. Organizers said 100,000 people attended.

Importantly, national referendum will poll residents on marriage equality this week. Taiwan will decide whether to change its civil code to equalize marriage as between ‘people’ rather than ‘man and woman’. The referendum will also ask whether to dismantle parts of Taiwan’s LGBT education policy.

Besides, stars of Taiwan’s movie industry expressed support for marriage equality in the country at the Golden Horse Awards.

The award ceremony in Taipei, often dubbed the Chinese-language Oscars, came a week before Taiwan heads to the polls to vote on equal marriage.

In an iconic display of support for LGBT rights, the judges delegation walked down the red carpet flying a giant rainbow flag. A number of stars wore rainbow pins and others referenced the upcoming vote in their speeches.

Taiwan’s path to becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage is uncertain. Now, it looks like Thailand could beat Taiwan, because Thai military government is holding public consultations on same-sex unions, and it may pass legislation before the end of the year.

It's time Taiwan!!!

Judges of Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards walk 
down the red carpet flying a rainbow flag

Monday, November 19, 2018

Chinese novelist jailed 10 years for writing a gay erotic book

A popular Chinese novelist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for writing and distributing homoerotic novels, provoking widespread debate online over the severity of her sentence.

The female writer, surnamed Liu, was found guilty on Oct. 31 by Wuhu county court in eastern Anhui province after she self-published a book was described by police as depicting "obscene sexual behavior between males" set to themes of "violence, abuse and humiliation."

The popularity of homoerotic fiction, dubbed "boys love," has soared in recent years in China, where a booming cottage industry of self-published authors churn out hundreds of new titles each month.

Though most titles only hint at homosexual relations and instead feature "bromances," others are more explicit, risking the ire of the country's censors.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, and was removed from the official list of mental illnesses a few years later. Activists and experts, however, have long argued that prejudices and discrimination, as well as periodic government crackdowns, persist.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Boy erased reaches the US' cinema screens

Boy Erased is an American biographical drama film based on Garrard Conley's 2016 memoir of the same name. 

The film is written and directed by Joel Edgerton, and starring Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges as Garrard. The movie also features Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as Garrard’s parents, and openly lesbian Cherry Jones playing Dr. Muldoon.

The only child of a car salesman and Baptist pastor, Garrard, was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. At nineteen, while in college, he was outed as gay to his parents and given the choice of being disowned or being subjected to gay conversion therapy that promised to cure his homosexuality.

Garrard's father told to him: “I want you to have a great life. I love you. But we cannot see a way that you can live under this roof, if you’re going fundamentally against the grain of our beliefs. Garrard, tell me the truth, that’s all.” And Garrard responded: “I think about men. I don’t know why. And I’m so sorry.”

Garrard was enrolled in a Love in Action ex-gay program, and recounts the harm he was subjected to there in the name of curing his sexuality. 

This film exposes gay conversion therapy programs are more likely to cause harm than cure anything.

Watch the trailer below:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Record number of same-sex couples adopting children in UK

One in eight adoptions in England are by same-sex couples, a record breaking since the UK government granted rights for same-sex couples to legally adopt in 2002.

450 of the 3,820 adoptions in 2018 were by same-sex couples, according to statistics released by the Department for Education. This is a record high for same-sex couples, despite total number of adoptions falling by 30% since 2015.

Same-sex adoptions are at a record high, and it may be that the legalisation of gay marriage in 2013 has been a catalyst for more same sex couples to adopt.

Legal status of adoption by same-sex couples around the world: 
    Gay adoption allowed   2nd parent adoption allowed   No laws allowing gay doption
CC BY-SA 3.0

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

English football clubs united to support LGBT Equality

The clubs of Premier League and English Football League (EFL) across the UK will unite in their support of LGBT inclusivity by turning their substitution boards and corner flags rainbow coloured to raise awareness of Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign in support of LGBT equality, with a key theme for this year focused on creating more allies to LGBT people in sport.

Between Saturday 24 November and Saturday 1 December, all Premier League and EFL clubs will select a fixture to highlight their continued support for LGBT fans, players and staff across the game with rainbow captain’s armbands, laces and programme adverts also being provided to Clubs.

The EFL will also change its logo to a bespoke rainbow coloured version for the campaign and has also created a series of short films to help share the stories of LGBT fans in the game. 

"Stonewall is an excellent partner for us and we value their ongoing work to support the league and our clubs in promoting diversity across the sport," Premier League executive director Bill Bush said. "Our clubs do fantastic work in this area to reinforce the message that football is for everyone. We are proud to be playing our part and to use our reach to celebrate the Rainbow Laces campaign," he added.

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive said: “The EFL is once again fully supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, with all 72 Clubs coming together to raise awareness and visibility of an important issue. The EFL continues to be committed to providing a match day experience that is safe and welcoming to all supporters across all of our competitions."

“We are hoping our specific Rainbow Laces initiatives this year, which includes new rainbow substitution boards as well as converting all corner flags at EFL grounds into rainbow colours, will again grab the attention of football fans up and down the country. This year’s campaign is also about recognising how to be an LGBT ally in football, which complements the work our Clubs are undertaking week in week out, up and down the country as part of the EFL’s Equality Code of Practice," Harvey added. 

English football unites for Rainbow Laces campaign

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Polish students defy ban on LGBT event

Last week the Polish government banned the annual Rainbow Friday event. Rainbow Friday is a day dedicated to raising awareness about LGBT rights in schools in Poland.

It has run for the past three years and schools are invited to participate in it. LGBT organisations provide information materials to schools that they are free to share with students and they also organize events and conversations in the schools.

But this year, the Minister of National Education, Anna Zalewska, declared any schools participating in the day would breaking education laws. She also said schools would be subject to inspection and even visited some schools herself to ensure they cancelled Rainbow Friday.

Polish LGBT organizations labelled the ban as a sign that government was trying to crackdown on the LGBT community. But some schools went ahead with Rainbow Friday despite the ban. Students posted photos of themselves dressed in rainbow colors and of the decorations they put up in their schools under the social media hashtag #teczowypiatek (Rainbow Friday).

Well done, guys!

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

US and EU condemn LGBT crackdown in Tanzania

The US Department of State has condemned Tanzania for creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and discrimination against the LGBT community amid a crackdown on alleged homosexuals.

In a strongly worded statement, the US Department of State expressed concern over the arrests and harassment of the LGBTI community in Tanzania and called on the country’s leaders to safeguard its population’s civil liberties. The statement read: "The United States government is deeply concerned over escalating attacks and legislative actions by the Government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights, creating an atmosphere of violence, intimidation, and discrimination."

"We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association, and assembly. The legislation is being used to restrict civil liberties for all," the statement continued.

Earlier this week, the European Union released a similar statement saying: "The EU regrets the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in Tanzania and will be conducting a broad review of its relations with Tanzania."

Last week, the governor of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, called on authorities to set up a special committee to identify and punish homosexuals. Makonda is a staunch ally of the country’s president, John Magufuli, who is also known for his anti-homosexuality and having initiated crackdowns against homosexuality in Tanzania since coming to power in 2015.

Tanzania has maintained the anti-homosexual laws established while under British colonial rule. Those found guilty of homosexual acts can face up to 30 years imprisonment.

Stop LGBT crackdown in Tanzania!!!